Hundreds of pints of science

Ella Rhodes previews the annual event.

The annual Pint of Science festival brings scientists and academics into pubs and bars across the same three days in May to share their findings with the public. The UK will host 600 talks from researchers in more than 40 cities from 20-22 May, with many of the speakers and topics of interest to psychologists. 

Dr Yvonne Skipper (University of Glasgow), will be speaking at Mellards in Newcastle-under-Lyme on 20 May about the role of superhero stories in shaping development. She told me these stories reflect societal trends and are often the subject of children’s creative play. 

‘Even as we get older, role models in films can help us to think about what sort of person we want to be. Many superheroes face a crisis and we can look at how they respond and what this leads to in order to guide our own behaviour.’ Skipper will also discuss how engaging with these stories in later life can encourage us to reflect on issues in our society such as prejudice, portrayed throughout the X-Men films.

‘I really enjoy thinking about how to present psychology in an engaging way. We are all amateur psychologists, trying to understand and predict our own behaviour and the behaviour of others. It is such a fascinating subject and I really enjoy thinking of ways to make it interesting and relevant… Talking with people outside the field also offers me some really interesting insights and perspectives which I had not previously considered.’  

Speaking about her research on pain at The Southsea Village in Portsmouth, also on 20 May, will be Dr Miznah Al-Abbadey (University of Portsmouth). A new lecturer at the university, Al-Abbadey told me the Pint of Science festival offered a way to get to know the public in the city and share her work with them. Her talk will cover the global impact of pain, the perception of pain and novel treatment approaches and how they have contributed to understanding pain processes. 

Pint of Science is run mainly by volunteers and was established by a community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in 2012, led by neuroscientists Dr Michael Motskin and Dr Praveen Paul. They have been joined by Elodie Chabrol, a 'hyperactive neuroscientist who loves sci-comm', as International and Finance Director. They said: 'We want to provide a platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out and no prior knowledge of the subject is required.' Pint of Science received a Points of Light award by the Prime Minister in recognition of voluntary work and making a change in the community. 

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